Tags: Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn's Defense Calls Nissan Investigation Flawed

Tuesday, 07 January 2020 06:38 PM

TOKYO (AP) — The defense team for Carlos Ghosn on Wednesday slammed Nissan's investigation that accuses him of financial misconduct as flawed and biased, not independent, and aimed only at taking him down.

“Nissan’s claim that it conducted ‘a robust, thorough internal investigation’ is a gross perversion of the truth. Rather, the facts demonstrate that investigation was never about finding the truth,” said a statement from French consultancy company Image Sept for the defense team.

“It was initiated and carried out for the specific, predetermined purpose of taking down Carlos Ghosn to prevent him from further integrating Nissan and Renault, which threatened the independence of Nissan, one of Japan’s iconic, flagship companies.”

Ghosn skipped bail late last year while awaiting trial in Japan and is now in Lebanon. He has not yet appeared in public but he was expected to hold a news conference later Wednesday in Beirut.

Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, has repeatedly asserted his innocence and said Nissan Motor Co. wanted to block a fuller merger with French alliance partner Renault.

What appears new in the latest statement is the assertion that Nissan never questioned Ghosn directly about the allegations, and how Nissan has not targeted others at the company, such as Hiroto Saikawa, Ghosn’s successor.

Saikawa resigned last year after allegations related to dubious income surfaced against him. He has not been charged.

It also said a Nissan employee who admitted to wrongdoing was involved in the investigation.

Nissan said Tuesday that it was sticking to its allegations, despite Ghosn's departure to Lebanon, that Ghosn engaged in serious misconduct while leading the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, and that it will pursue legal action against him. It did not give details.

Nissan faces trial as a company in Japan, and it has indicated it will comply and pay required fines.

Ghosn was charged with under-reporting his future compensation and with breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for his personal benefit. He has repeatedly said the compensation was never decided and the payments were for legitimate business.

Also Tuesday, Japan sought the arrest of Carole Ghosn, Ghosn's wife, who is believed to be with him in Lebanon, on suspicion of perjury related to statements she made at a Tokyo court last year related to her husband's case.

Japanese government officials have acknowledged that seeking an individual's return from Lebanon to Japan to stand trial is difficult and sensitive. Lebanon and Japan do not have extradition treaties. Lebanon generally does not extradite its citizens.

How Ghosn managed to get out of Japan, where he is widely known, has riveted the public. Overseas travel had been banned as part of his bail conditions,

He is seen on security footage walking alone out of his Tokyo home. He reportedly took a bullet train to Kansai Airport and flew first to Turkey and then to Lebanon on private jets.

Japanese Justice Minister Masako Mori told reporters that luggage and cargo checks were being strengthened for private jets at all airports. She did not confirm reports that Ghosn got through by hiding in a box for musical equipment.

Japan has seized the 1.5 billion yen ($14 million) bail Ghosn posted on two instances to get out of detention, where he spent 130 days. He has said he did not expect to get a fair trial in Japan.

His lawyers in Japan have said they were stunned he skipped bail and have expressed disappointment, anger and some empathy for his feelings.

Ghosn has an international team of lawyers and consultants that seek to clear his name.

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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The defense team for Carlos Ghosn on Wednesday slammed Nissan's investigation that accuses him of financial misconduct as flawed and biased, not independent, and aimed only at taking him down. "Nissan's claim that it conducted 'a robust, thorough internal investigation' is...
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Tuesday, 07 January 2020 06:38 PM
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